My Book! PLAYFUL: Fun Projects to Make With + For Kids Coming this fall, 2014!

Friends I’ve been dropping a few hints here and there about some exciting things I’ve been working on this past year and I’ve been dying to share more images and reveal more details. And I’m happy to report that I can do so now! I  have a book coming out this fall!!! It’s titled PLAYFUL: Fun Projects to Make With + For Kids and is being published by gorgeous book maker Melanie Falick of STC Craft. Below is a shot of the tentative title page as well as a handful of teaser images from the book!

Mer Mag Book | PLAYFUL Toys and Crafts Made By HandTwo years ago, at my first ALT Summit, I was introduced to Melanie Falick by my friend Brooke Reynolds of Inchmark. I had the idea for making a kids craft book already buzzing around in my head so when Brooke suggested it as well, and recommended me to Melanie (a long time favorite publisher who makes beautiful books like this one, this, and this) I was more than excited and knew I was headed in the right direction. After working hard to make the best book proposal I could, I submitted it to Melanie and excitedly/anxiously waited to hear back. I can vividly remember the return phone call from Melanie. It was the summer of 2012 and all of my family was loaded in the car after spending the afternoon at Seven Peaks water park. My cellphone rang and I saw it was from NYC. I picked it up and I’m not sure what was said really other than….YOU’VE GOT A BOOK DEAL. When I hung up the phone, I looked over at Jon, paused and then screamed…I HAVE A BOOK DEAL!!!! He had to pull over so we could both scream a few more times. It was so exciting for me.

I love making beautiful things, maybe a bit obsessively so, and it’s been a dream to create my first kids DIY  toy and craft book. I had such a specific vision for this book. I knew I wanted it to be first and foremost PLAYFUL, inspiring, beautiful and full of amazing, special projects for parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and more to create with and for the little ones in their life.

To accomplish this, I of course couldn’t do it alone. My specific vision for the book meant that I needed to find just the right photographer, stylists and designer who understood the look and feel of what I was going for. Brooke (former Art Director for Martha Stewart Kids) was already on board from the get-go as a designer (lucky lucky me!! It was her idea to have this fun confetti around the title page and I love it!) and I had a few ideas in mind for a photographer and stylist. After some back and forth I knew Nicole Gerulat was the perfect photographer for this book. She has an incredible eye, a way with children and can capture the most magical moments (and she happens to live just about 20 min away from me). In 2013 I met with her over lunch, oh just a few months before she was to give birth to her second child, to see if there was anyway she could fit in a book shoot that hot summer before, you know, having a baby and all. SOOO happy she said YES! (So lucky the shoot was local or it wouldn’t have happened…and I would have cried like a baby for months ;)). And you probably already know how much I love working with my dear friend Meta from One More Mushroom (one of the first times we met we talked for hours and hours – in fact we still have a hard time cutting off the chatting when we get together, making it hard go home and get on with things – our husbands just looove it, I’m sure). It’s no secret she has incredible taste and a killer eye for styling so naturally I wanted her to style to shoots. Our styles are different but complimentary and she understands what I gravitate to. Nicole suggested bringing Brittany Watson Jepsen, from The House that Lars Built, on board as well for wardrobe (as she had just moved to area). I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the idea. I’d been a fan of her blog and impeccable taste for quite some time as well. When I first met her I was so excited for this book and the possibly of having her on board, I was a bumbling fool, overwhelmed with my hyper enthusiasm. Lucky for me she was  game….and it’s been a magical collaboration ever since.

Gals behind Mer Mag's book PLAYFUL Toys and Crafts Made By Hand

All four of us met for lunch to launch this collaboration. My favorite part was when Meta and Brittany walked in, having never met before this point (in fact this was when I met Brittany as well) and both blondies were dressed in cute scandi/peasant dresses, swedish sandals, their hair in crown braids and practically matching leather totes. Nicole and I looked at each other and just nodded our heads as if to say “oh yeah, we picked the right combo for this job”. And boy did we ever. After meeting, sharing mood boards, ideas and more, we all got to work (and let me tell you these girls do what it takes to make things impeccable…making all my wildest dreams for this book come true and then some!). When I’d show up to the sets to help everything come together, I couldn’t have been more blown away. The things Meta would have put together were breathtaking…and the clothing Brittany had found fit the crafts and the styling so well. And then when nicole started snapping away, I was literally gasping with glee (is that possible?). I was beyond thrilled to see what she was able to capture. Seriously you guys, these ladies took this book to an entirely new level of Uh-mazing.

And on that note I’m thrilled to share a sneak peek of one of my favorite crafts/shoots from the book. My favorite little trapeze doll! I couldn’t get this idea out of my head (which actually came to life after a phone call with my sister when I made a doll with legs that were too long and I had to figure out where to go with her). Once discovering that she was always meant to be a big-top flyer the ideas started spinning. I had the idea of having a couple of dolls hanging form a trapeze in a little girls room. Would have been cute for sure, but then Meta came back with the brilliant idea of doing an overhead shot similar to her super hero photo booth that I collaborated with her on. I loved it immediately. Originally she envisioned a circus scene with the girls flying above it but decided to simplify to a simple circus tent opening to keep focus on the doll. I painted the tent, Brittany put together the darling Woven Play ensemble and had me paint some tights (cutest idea ever!), while Nicole climbed a tall ladder (at 8 months pregnant!) with all of us spotting her so she could take this phenomenal photo. The result = nothing short of playful magic.

Trapeze doll for Mer Mag's book PLAYFUL - out fall 2014. Photo by Nicole Gerulat

And the rest of the book is just as amazing! It’s so hard to keep it all under wraps as I’m dying to share it all. This fall can’t come soon enough! But stayed tuned as I’ll be sharing as many little updates as I can. Yippee!


*Update: PLAYFUL is now available for pre-order here!


53 Responses to “My Book! PLAYFUL: Fun Projects to Make With + For Kids”

  1. Mari, Small for Big

    I’m so excited for you and you so deserve this!!! I can’t wait to get it and be inspired/jealous of every single thing about it. Wish we’d had more time to chat at Alt, it’s always so great to run into you!

    • Merrilee

      Thanks so much Mari! I’m so excited as well. It was so great to chat a bit with you too and hope to keep in touch.
      xo Mer

  2. Helen

    Congratulations!! I love your blog and can’t wait to read your book. I was at Alt, and secretly hoped I would run into you! Maybe next year…

  3. Andrea Howe

    Oh my word this is so exciting and beautiful! I was talking to Brittany at Alt and she was saying how beautiful the book was, and man was she right! Gorgeous! I can’t wait to get a copy! Congratulations 🙂

  4. Jen

    What a dream team! I would expect nothing short of perfection from you. Everything you create is inspiring and beautiful. I loved reading the story of how everything came together! I would have had to pull over and scream some more too!! Ashley’s little girl is so perfect in that photograph. I cannot wait!

    • Merrilee

      Thanks Jen! I agree, Ashley’s little lady was THE perfect gal for this. Her hair! and she was a doll to work with. AND yes total dream team. I’m still pinching myself, feeling so lucky to have had these talented gals onboard. XO Mer

  5. Malia

    This looks wonderful, Mer. Thanks for sharing the process of how it came to be, too–I’m always wondering about those kinds of details!

    • Merrilee

      No problem Malia. I agree, I’m always wondering as well which is why I think it’s so beneficial we share. 🙂 xo Mer

  6. Marsida

    Oh my, this looks amazing! I hope I can put a hand on this book in Europe! The circus scene is just genius; made my day just to look at it! I usually don’t comment on blogs but this one I had to 🙂 congratulations!

    • Merrilee

      thanks so much Marsida! I do believe it will be in Europe for sure but I’ll keep you posted! xo Mer

  7. Melissa

    Merrilee, I’m sooo excited for you, and for the whole world! I can’t wait to see this beautiful, colorful, amazing book in person this Fall!! Congratulations!!

    • Merrilee

      Thanks Melissa! And so great chatting with you at ALT! Let’s stay in touch. xo Mer

  8. Jenn

    Bravo, Mer! What an accomplishment! You’re so talented and the book looks amazing. Looking forward to owning a copy!

  9. Karolina

    Hello Merrilee… Would it be possible to order the book online (I live in Europe and I would love to have something like that too) : )?


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